The 2016 Palaszczuk budget delivers on the mandate that was given to us by the people of Queensland in 2015. It was given to us by the hundreds of thousands of mums and dads, students and seniors. It does not matter whether people work as a nurse or a teacher, an engineer, a carpenter, a concreter, an accountant, a businessman or a cook, this budget is in response to their decision to vote Labor. In doing so they asked the new government that they elected to work with Queenslanders to restore faith in government itself. We have continued to do that. They asked us to be a government for everyone—a government with a vision to advance the state and to do that with compassion. We are fulfilling that commitment. This year’s budget reflects that. We are building confidence in communities across Queensland through a program to boost new road construction in regional Queensland.
In my electorate of Springwood we are building confidence by investing in roads here too. We have delivered funding for the M1-Gateway merge upgrade. I know that the people of the electorate I represent also expect us to deliver world’s best services. Our local schools will see new buildings, renovations and new technology to make sure every child in our neighbourhood gets a quality education so they can get a good job.
We are investing in giving people security and peace of mind. When the unthinkable happens, families can rest assured that we have put more ambulances on the road. We are restoring services right across this state. We are treating Queenslanders with the respect and dignity that the community expects. The key to this is that we are a government that listens. I am very proud to be part of a government that listens.
For three years those opposite rose in this House to talk down Queenslanders. They talked down teachers, health workers, doctors and legal professionals. They talked down our economy. They talked down front-line services. They even talked down their own budgets. All of this was designed to destroy faith in government itself so that the LNP could advance their agenda of sack, slash and sell. They treated budgets not as an opportunity to advance the living standards of Queenslanders, but as a vehicle to advance their radical conservative agenda.
It was not at all an agenda to deal with the real challenges that Queenslanders face; it was an attitude that treated Queenslanders with disdain, and ultimately Queenslanders responded at the ballot box. I have been listening and working with the people of the electorate of Springwood and am pleased to report to the House on the budget measures that mean so much to our community.
I have been working with local stakeholders to develop the Daisy Hill Action Plan, a conservation and recreation plan that will fulfil Daisy Hill’s tourism potential and that will lead to local jobs.
This plan will set up Daisy Hill as a hub for conservation excellence. I thank the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef for his commitment to Daisy Hill.
In this budget we are spending $633,000 in 2016-17 out of a $2 million total spend to enhance the facilities at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre as part of a $12.1 million commitment to koala conservation.
There is no doubt that Daisy Hill also represents one of the most significant tourism opportunities in our neighbourhood. And that’s why this Budget’s contribution to a sophisticated trail network is vital.
The mountain bike community has rolled up its sleeves in this part of the world. They’ve outlined a vision to grow a sport that not only brings our community together but has the potential to be the catalyst for an adventure tourism economy in our very own community. A clean, green economy that creates local jobs. Our investment is a down payment on our commitment to supporting that vision.
Adventure tourism and conservation education are a good fit with our community and they will deliver jobs.
As I mentioned I have been working on the action plan with a range of local stakeholders. Just last week I hosted a session to discuss the plan with:
Logan City Council, Redland City Council, South East Queensland Trails Alliance, Logan and Albert Conservation, Logan Community Trail Care, Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation, Logan Tourism Association, Koala Action Group and local residents.
Mr Speaker as a parent who spends too much time at work away from my kids, I know how important it is for every other mum and dad to get home from work as efficiently as they can.
The M1 and Gateway merge keeps families apart and it costs local businesses in lost time.
Residents of Springwood, and people right across Logan, have been clear about how important upgrading the M1 merge is. We have delivered the State share of funds to upgrade the merge as part of a holistic plan to help make our local economy move.
Locals tell me that the motorway problem is just part of the picture and that wider action is needed. Fixing the M1 is not a solution in itself.
Thousands of locals signed petitions calling for fairer public transport. It started with a rally at the Hyperdome and was helped by advocates like Inari Thiel and Jordan Morley Buchanan. And now this budget is proposing one of the biggest transport savings measures since the bus stations, delivered by Labor governments, opened at Logan and Springwood.
Housing and public works
The contrast between the LNP’s sack, slash, and sell agenda and our Government’s approach is clear in terms of my portfolio of housing and public works.
Housing is an issue that every Queenslander has a stake in. Whether you rent, own, have a mortgage or are an investor or builder—Queenslanders have skin in the housing game.
As I’ve listened to Queenslanders across the state people have highlighted affordability as a key concern.
Affordable and low cost housing is a challenge that Government can’t meet on its own. That’s why, in consultation with the community and key stakeholders in property, construction and the housing sector, we are exploring options to deliver new affordable housing across the state.
This consultation is this basis for a new ten year housing strategy that we will release later this year.
Addressing housing affordability and affordable housing is complex. It requires government to take a broad approach, to consider the problem holistically. It requires a real plan.
This government is committed to affordable housing that allows people to live with dignity, confidence and security and contribute fully to their communities.
As I’ve said this week already, Queenslanders expect more than a hit and hope housing strategy. They expect a real plan.
Which is exactly why we have been listening broadly with Queenslanders, with industry groups, with businesses, housing organisations and across the entire width of the property spectrum.
And during 2016/17 we will deliver a strategy that does justice to the expectations of Queenslanders. This process has been consultative from the outset.
The process has been guided by my Ministerial Housing Consultative Committee made up of:
Dr Judy Kraatz, Griffith University, Mr Jeff Cheverton, Forrestors Community Finance, Dr Judy Yates, University of Sydney, Mr David Cant, Brisbane Housing Company, Dr Lesley van Schoubroek, Queensland Mental Health Commission, Ms Maria Leebeek, Micah Projects, Ms Rhonda Phillips, The University of Queensland, Dr Annabel Taylor, Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, Mr Mark Henley, Queensland Council of Social Services, Ms Rachel Watson, Q Shelter, Ms Penny Carr, Tenants Queensland.
As we develop the new strategy, we are continuing to put in the hard yards of providing housing for Queenslanders who need it, and this is reflected in the budget.
This government is committed to providing social housing to the people most in need.
Through my department, $209 million will be allocated to building, acquiring and refurbishing government-owned social housing, a portfolio that currently stands at 60,000 properties.
My department will begin work on 277 new homes, complete 368 more, and buy 12 existing homes. We will also purchase 111 lots for further social housing development.
Adaptability for Seniors and NDIS
And as we build this new housing we are modernising and renewing our portfolio to cater for the changing needs of seniors in our community. For our mums and dads and grandparents. For those with a disability we are stepping up and making sure they live better.
In rolling out this modernisation we are guided by the imperative to meet the needs of our ageing population. As the demographic profile of people in our houses changes, so too must the homes themselves.
We are meeting the changing needs of people in our community. We are responding to the things that matter to them in housing. We are making sure that the homes we provide are adaptable and that they are the right size.
People I’ve met across state and in the neighbourhood I call home, disability advocates like Chris Simpson and Greg O’Donnell who both asked me to make sure that our government had a plan to help their kids have a safe and secure place to call home.
To this end, new social housing is designed under the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines referencing Gold and Platinum Levels.
Gold Level dwellings include features such as wider hallways, level thresholds and provision for grab rails. Platinum Level dwellings also include additional features, such as extra clearance spaces, making them suitable for clients who mobilise in wheelchairs.
Typically, up to 30% of social housing apartments in any new multi-unit project are designed to LHDG Platinum Level with all remaining ground floor and lift serviced apartments designed to LHDG Gold Level, with some additional requirements.
The minimum standard for detached houses is LHDG Gold Level, with LHDG Platinum Level applied in response to identified client need.
The department carries out disability modifications to existing dwellings to improve their liveability, for example, to cater for people who require accessibility features as a result of ageing or accidents. These range from grab and hand rails to ramps and accessible bathrooms and kitchens.
Family and domestic violence
The budget also reflects this Government’s commitment to tackle family and domestic violence.
We are providing $4.2 million for a Domestic and Family Violence Shelter in Charters Towers, and another in a rural or remote location yet to be selected.
When my year six year old niece Emily did a class inquiry about social disadvantage and discovered the extent of homelessness in every community, I saw how moved she and her classmates were to do better as a community. Their inquiry showed that no matter how wealthy the average person was in a community, homelessness was all too common.
It’s now an honour to serve as the Minister responsible for homelessness services and in this Budget we will provide $139.4 million in State and Federal funding to support homelessness services across the state.
And this government has committed $5 million to begin building a 40-unit rental facility in Townsville that will provide specialist supported accommodation for rough sleepers.
Ultimately we need to revolutionize the way we think about delivering homelessness services and that thinking will form part of the findings from the development of our Housing Strategy.
Home assist secure
In 2016-17, to ensure the elderly and vulnerable in our community have access to assistance so they can stay in their own home. I will issue $20.2 million in grants to be used by Home Assist Secure providers to help with the simple, but important tasks that help keep people in their homes.
We expect that it will help more than 52,000 Queensland households
I have also committed to providing safe and secure housing for employees involved in frontline services in Queensland communities most in need.
Our teachers, nurses, police, and other officers living in remote communities will welcome the $33.4 million spend in 2016-17 on government housing, spending $23.4 million to provide 37 accommodation units, and another $10 million to upgrade existing residents. We’ll continue to reinvest in properties well beyond these figures through a strategic property reinvestment strategy.
I’ve met the dedicated public servants that pack up their entire lives and head to remote Queensland, often when they are very young. And they do it because they believe in what they do makes a difference in remote communities. I appreciate that safe, quality housing helps them feel valued, especially in locations, which are often hot and isolated.
I’m proud of my life’s work, dedicated to the supporting others to enjoy the dignity and security that having a job brings. And a job that lets you build things and that gives you an opportunity to actually build a community is a great job.
I’m committed to maintaining confidence in the construction industry. Security of payment
That’s why I set about making time to listen to every type of worker in the construction industry, in every part of Queensland. It’s clear from this work that security of payment affects people right across the construction industry.
Across the course of this year I’ve sat down with subbies and tradies and heard heartbreaking stories about family break up and small business collapse as a result of non-payment. I’ve sat down with the peak organization representing the trades, with building companies and developers.
Everyone expects to see a level playing field, where your business success relies on your skills, your products and your effort, not some cunning misuse of insolvency laws or industry influence.
So to make sure that the commitments I gave to those men and women, this budget allocates the funds required to design and test the operating model for providing security of payment. This is Queensland’s chance to design a model that works, that can be established across this key industry; and that means small businesses across the State can have real confidence in simply getting paid.
This added confidence will encourage more people to take on more work and employ more staff.
Springwood State High School
When I was growing up, I wanted to take on the same profession as my Dad. And I fully expect that the construction professionals living in Springwood would be keen to see their sons and daughter follow in their footstep and perhaps join the family small business as a tradesperson.
For the 3000 families in my electorate that work in the construction sector, I want them to know that the upgrade and construction allocated for the new Manual Arts Centre at Springwood State School is a big step forward and it provides a great pathway.
This investment will give young people in Springwood the opportunity to learn skills to set them up with a trade.
Springwood State High is a great school with a great school community and I congratulate principal Julie-Ann McCullough and school leaders O’Shai Whettam and Jake Barry on the work that they have done.
I’ve walked through the existing manual arts block with Julie-Ann and it’s great to see students getting training on automotive and construction projects.
This new funding will mean that these programs can extend to advanced construction, providing linkages with STEM and robotics projects.
Speaker, listening to Queenslanders talk about the sort of future they want to see is how we’ve built our vision to advance Queensland and we are getting on with the job of delivering.
I commend the Appropriation Bills to the House.